I can’t imagine going out for an ice cream with friends and disagreeing with someone else’s ice cream choice when they order something different than I do. I understand that it’s just what they are choosing. There isn’t anything wrong with either of our ice cream choices, we’ve just chosen differently. It would be silly to get into a heated debate about which is the right ice cream to order, or expect that everyone should follow my criteria and thus choose the same ice cream as I do…yet this is exactly what we do every time we disagree.
The only control any of us ever has is over the choices we make, and we only ever have the opportunity to make two choices, (1) how we choose to interpret a situation, and (2) how we then choose to react to our own interpretation.
It’s not really possible to disagree with someone, because that would be reacting to someone else, and the only one we can ever possibly react to is ourselves…to our own interpretations. Of course this also means that it’s not possible to agree with others.
We may make similar choices and choose to react to our own interpretations in a similar manner as some people, and very differently than others. No matter what choices we make, we all make our choices the same way, using our memories, emotions, and speculating (personal judgments/beliefs/guesswork/assumptions that we use in place of missing or unknown facts.). Because we’ve each experienced different things in our lives, our memories, feelings, and speculative beliefs, are all different. When we add in the variations of different people habitually relying more on some of these mental assets than others, it can appear that we human beings are a hugely complex race, even though we are truly simplistic creatures who only ever make two choices using three mental assets.
When we’re unaware of our own simplicity, we continue to live in a story book world of our own made up reality filled with greed, fear, frustration, and hatred. A world of mistrust and misunderstanding where we erect walls, both physical and mental, to divide us by race, nationality, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.
From the moment we begin to question what’s really going on, or begin to expect that we are missing something and there must be ‘something more than this’, we’re on the path of becoming aware.
To become more aware we pay attention to the roles each our three mental assets play in the choices we make, and call it meditation. At first we’ll probably only be able to notice how they play into our choice of how we react to our interpretations. We use specific meditation techniques to help us learn to notice how these four mental factors also play into our choices of how we interpret situations When we can do that, we can begin to see what’s really going on and actively choose how we assess situations we encounter as well as our responses to our own assessments.